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How To Tell If Your Car Has a Bad Catalytic Converter? 9 Signs

How To Tell If Your Car Has a Bad Catalytic Converter? 9 Signs

A bad catalytic converter will result in the following signs:

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  1. Check engine light illuminating
  2. Difficulty accelerating
  3. Inconsistent fuel consumption
  4. Strong sulfur smell
  5. Different converter housing color
  6. Difficulty starting
  7. More emissions
  8. Engine misfiring
  9. Strong loud noises

With more air pollution due to automobiles, the Environmental Protection Agency requires all manufacturers to install certain components to ensure and maintain air quality. Among the different components, the manufacturers must install the catalytic converter to confirm that gases leaving the combustion system must be treated before it's released into the environment.

While the catalytic converter is a sturdy and durable component, it's not surprising to deal with premature catalytic converter damages. Therefore, drivers should not rely on the expected lifespan of the catalytic converter before checking it to avoid other complications that could cost thousands of dollars to repair.

This article summarizes the 9 most comments indicating that you're dealing with a bad catalytic converter. Then, the article aims to answer the question, “how to tell if your car has a bad catalytic converter?”

8 Signs Of A Bad Catalytic Converter


What is the catalytic converter, and what does it do?

Before we summarize the 9 symptoms of a bad catalytic converter, we answer the question, “how to tell if your car has a bad catalytic converter?” We must get a general understanding of the main purpose of this converter in your vehicle.

As you might already know, in any vehicle equipped with a combustion system, a lot of energy and gas is generated. However, these gases cannot go directly through the atmosphere because they can harm the environment and risk human health. Furthermore, releasing raw gases from the combustion process violates the Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Thus, something must be done to these gases before they are released into the atmosphere.

Thanks to the catalytic converter responsible for treating these gases and “converting” them to list harmful gases where they do not harm the environment. The catalytic converter consists of valuable metals that allow the gases to go through the metals and get converted to the other gas forms.

How to Tell if Your Catalytic Converter is Failing

How to tell if your car has a bad catalytic converter? 9 warning signs

It's not surprising to deal with catalytic converter problems as it ages. However, what's interesting is when you deal with catalytic converter problems prematurely, and when this happens, you can unin9tionally damage your catalytic converter by not checking it one time.

To avoid further catalytic converter complications, you must ask yourself, “how to tell if your car has a bad catalytic converter?” Here are the 9 most common warning signs indicating that your catalytic converter is failing:

1.    Check engine light illuminating

The first and most common symptom when dealing with a bad catalytic converter is a check engine light illuminating. The check engine light is a way for your vehicle to communicate with you and bring your attention to internal problems. Ignoring the check engine light is never a good idea because you can easily deal with further complications that will cost you the entire vehicle.

The catalytic converter might trigger a check engine light, especially if you're having it shown with the air-fuel mixture. Therefore, if you want to confirm that the check engine light is illuminating due to a bad catalytic converter, you can use a scanning tool like the OBD scanner. This scanner checks your vehicle's internal computer and reads any potential errors. You can then translate the error by looking it up on Google to determine whether it's a bad catalytic converter or something else.

Once you confirm it's the converter, you have to replace it or check with your mechanic about any potential repair options.

2.    Difficulty accelerating

When the catalytic converter goes bad, you'll notice that your vehicle is not accelerating as it should. In other words, you'll notice some signs of acceleration legs. The problem could be related to various components like a bad filter, a faulty sensor, or a damaged spark plug. However, the problem also could be related to a malfunctioning catalytic converter.

The only way for you to confirm what are your acceleration lag is related to a bad Catholic converter or not is to check with your mechanic and have him perform a thorough inspection to eliminate other potential culprits like a bad oxygen sensor which is a very common cause for the lag in acceleration.

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3.    Inconsistent fuel consumption

Depending on the catalytic converter problem, you might notice that your vehicle is either consuming too much fuel or not consuming enough fuel as usual. Obviously, who doesn't like when the vehicle doesn't consume a lot of fuel, but that's not a good situation. On the other hand, fuel-saving means high repair costs for replacing a bad catalytic converter.

Therefore, if you notice that the castle is a converter that is not working as it should, you should check with your mechanic and know about the vehicle's behavior in terms of consuming the fuel. Sometimes the problem could be related to a fuel filter or other components, but in some instances, it could be an issue related to a bad catalytic converter.

4.    Strong sulfur smell

The catalytic converter is responsible for changing some of the gas forms and less harmful forms. Typically, the bad gases contain some sulfur, and if the catalytic converter did not convert them completely, you'd notice a strong sulfurous smell coming out of the vehicle.

Sulfur is not a good gas to inhale, which can be poisonous. In addition, depending on your health condition, you might deal with significant complications because of this smell. Also, you will deal with some potential problems that could include failing the emission test if the problem is related to a bad catalytic converter.

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5.    Different converter housing color

When the catalytic converter goes bad, you notice its color is not as it should. However, suppose you performed a quick visual inspection and took a look at the converter. In that case, you'll notice that it looks more like bluish color, which indicates that some unburnt fuel ran through this catalytic converter multiple times before.

Since the catalytic converter is not meant to treat unburnt fuel, the fuel could have damaged the internal catalysts inside your catalytic converter. Therefore, seeing these visual discolor on the converter might indicate a completely failed component, which means you must check with your mechanic and confirm.

6.    Difficulty starting

Did you know that if the catalytic converter is not working properly, you might have difficulty starting your vehicle? Most of us know that difficulties starting are typically associated with a bad battery or a faulty alternator, but a bad catalytic converter could be a potential culprit.

If you confirm that your car doesn't have any battery problems at everything in the sorting system is not dealing with any issues, check with your mechanic about the condition of the converter because it could be the culprit.

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7.    More emissions

Unsurprisingly, when the catalytic converter does not work properly, you'll notice that your vehicle releases more harmful emissions into the atmosphere than usual here. Unfortunately, this is not a good situation, and if you are due for an emission test, your vehicle will immediately fail the test.

Who wants to harm the environment, and who doesn't care about the environment?! Therefore, if you notice that your car is emitting a lot of weird guesses with strong smells, you must work on it and resolve the issue in your catalytic converter immediately.

8.    Engine misfiring

About catalytic converter might cause engine misfiring. Engine misfiring happens because of an issue with one of the following components:

  • The fuel supplies
  • The air supplies
  • The spark timing

If there is a problem with any of the mentioned components, you'll fire engines and might trigger a check engine light. A bad catalytic converter might cause some issues in the mentioned components, and therefore, if you confirm that all the other potential elements involved are not bad, consider checking the catalytic converter because it could be the culprit

9.    Strong loud noises

Finally, a bad catalytic converter might trigger some loud noises. These noises will be more like a rattling noise, and some people describe them as a honeycomb. You will notice that these noises get stronger when revving the engine.

As a rule of thumb, whenever you deal with any strong, loud noises coming from your car, you must take it seriously. Whether these noises are related to a bad catalytic converter or any other components, it could indicate an eternal problem. You have to check with your mechanic for dealing with other complications, causing you to pay thousands of dollars for repair.

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How much does it cost to fix a bad catalytic converter?

Fixing the catalytic converter costs, you somewhere between $945 and $2475. These repairs are not cheap, and whenever you have a bad catalytic converter, you got to be ready if you are paying even more if you're driving a luxury car.

Keep in mind that the pair costs do not stop here because there could be additional problems triggered by ignoring the problem for a long time. In addition, keep in mind that labor costs are not included, which could be a significant addition to the final bill.

That's why many drivers give up on their vehicles completely whatever the catalytic converter fails. That’s when you have to evaluate whether it’s worth the repairs or not. If you ended up with repair costs getting close to your vehicle’s value, you might want to consider selling your vehicle instead. Typically, you don’t want repair costs to approach 75% or more from your vehicle’s value. Some other factors might also encourage you to sell your vehicle rather than fixing it.

However, if you want to explore selling your car because of a bad catalytic converter, you can always check with cash cars buyer by calling us at 773-791-4363.

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Final thoughts

The catalytic converter is one of those components that you might be able to drive your vehicle without it. Still, you can easily deal with some legal complications because of harming the environment. While there is a specific expected lifespan for the catalytic converter, it might fail prematurely, and that's where you ask, “how to tell if your car has a bad catalytic converter?”

This article summarized 9 potential symptoms indicating that your catalytic converter is about to fail or is failing. You must monitor your vehicle and check the catalytic converter whenever you deal with these symptoms.

Unfortunately, ignoring these symptoms might damage the converter completely, and that's where you must replace it. However, as you learn from the article, replacing the catalytic converter is not cheap. Therefore, before you decide on fixing it, you want to evaluate whether it's best to sell the vehicle rather than waste your time, energy, and money.

If you're interested in selling your vehicle with a bad catalytic converter, cash cars buyer is one of the limited companies that will accept it!

Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to pay you the top dollars and provide you with free towing despite your living location around the United States.

Our process is very straightforward and doesn't take more than a couple of days to get your car removed safely and for the most money.

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  • Describe your car's type and condition
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